What is a Protection Order?

Abuse can be directed towards you, your spouse, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a child, a parent, or another relative. The Family Law Act defines family violence. The definition includes:

  • Psychological or emotional abuse
  • Physical or sexual abuse, even when someone threatens or attempts it
  • When a child sees or experiences family violence

Under the Family Law Act, someone who is facing family violence may be able to get a protection order. Protection orders can help to protect the safety of family members by, for example, ordering an abuser to stay away from someone, as well as their home, their workplace, and their school. They can also contain directions for a police officer to remove the family member from the family residence or to go with the person at risk to pick up personal belongings at home.

Who is considered a family member?

Under the act, a family member includes:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • A person that someone is living with, or has lived with, in a marriage-like relationship
  • A parent or guardian of someone’s child
  • A person you live with and are related to
  • A person’s child, including a child who is living with one of the above (like a step-child)

A person that someone is dating is not considered a family member. A person who is dating someone who is violent can make a report to the police under the Criminal Code and the police may charge the abuser with an assault or similar offence. Someone who is dating can also apply to BC Supreme Court for a restraining order.

For more, see Abuse & family violence on the Family Law in BC website.

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